Addressing the Christopher Street ‘Situation’

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They may be gypsies and tramps. But are they thieves?
They may be gypsies and tramps. But are they thieves? Photo: Getty Images

The NYPD has been quietly cracking down on street activity and (hopefully) drug use and theft on Christopher Street — from the triangle park near Sheridan Square all the way to the pier on the Hudson. According to The Villager, a local anti-crime group has demanded that the city institute a 10 p.m. curfew on the Christopher Street Pier, and that the PATH station exit nearby be shut down on the weekends. The most visible (and audible) problem for neighbors and local merchants is the steady stream of vocal and energetic kids that parade up and down the street between the station and the pier. While defenders claim that the pier (now open until 1 a.m.) is a necessary safe spot for LGBT youth to gather and express themselves, opponents say that along with many innocent kids come drug dealers, thieves, perpetrators of assault, and vagrants who make the area inhospitable for shops, restaurants, bars, and homes.

The NYPD has already taken the step of shutting down the Christopher Street Park (with the familiar white Stonewall sculptures), which has apparently helped a little. "This is a park that no one can sit in and enjoy because of these bums that sit there and menace everyone and defecate,” Monster bar owner Charles Rice said. “Finally, someone is closing the park by 9 p.m. — it was staying open till 1 a.m. Panhandlers come [from the park] and ask for cigarettes, and if they don’t give them, they threaten to throw a brick through the window.” Rice said the situation has improved with the curfew. Any of you live in the neighborhood? You can't miss the presence of all the LGBT kids at night, especially on the weekends — but do you think it's necessary to try to get rid of them in order to keep out other bad influences?

Gay bars and neighbors say, ‘Anything goes’ has got to go [Villager via Curbed]